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Talk me off the ledge - I’ve entered the “scuba gear and ballgowns” territory

I had every thing laid out for carry on only packing. And I was way under weight at 16 lbs.

Then an extra sweater.

Then it’s not going to kill me to have a third pair of shoes

What about scarves! I rarely wear them at home but I do like them for travel because they are an easy way to keep warm, without an extra layer. So why not 6?

Someone tell me to stop packing before I start throwing in the scuba gear and ball gowns just in case!

Posted by
1179 posts

Then it’s not going to kill me to have a third pair of shoes

There’s your logic fail. Ask “what’s the worst thing that could happen if I don’t have this?” If it’s mere inconvenience then leave it at home.

Posted by
1427 posts

Only pack something if you are certain you will use it at least twice. Never pack something because it might come in handy.

Posted by
2762 posts

Just in case is what gets you! Sure, you COULD meet the prince and get invited to a gala - so do bring that ballgown, just in case. Hahah. Seriously, stop thinking of "why not" and instead think of "why do I need this" and think of multiple reasons (likely reasons!) for the item.

Posted by
3789 posts

"Talk me off the ledge'.......Walk away from the suitcase.......

Posted by
3408 posts

Shoes usually are heavy and consume a lot of space. 3 scarves is plenty. One sweater is enough. Make it a game with yourself-competitive light packing competing against yourself. I'm getting a reputation with people at my church as a light packer! I'm hardcore-I often take only the shoes I'm wearing!

Posted by
1062 posts

You can flip the whole "what if" dilemma on its head and make the fantasy into being as chic as you can be at 16 pounds, which might give you permission to purchase the best ever sweater that fits every occasion instead of taking an extra. Buying scarves as souvenirs is also always an option - and just about anything in addition to scarves. An extra pair of shoes is open to debate. If you need two rough and tumble pairs, I can understand the desire for a flat like Tieks which will fit every occasion - foldable too. Sometimes on tours, I have had shoe lust when other seemingly light packers pulled out a different pair of sneaks each day!! I wonder if they filled up their partners bags with shoes?

Seriously, I love how successful you have been to achieve 16 pounds. If you take that extra sweater, wear it on the plane - and consider the Tieks (no time to purchase? - oops, problem solved - there is always next time for the prince to discover your fab slipper). Or, if you are going to France, look for Arche on sale - Spain or Italy - Camper brand - and they are all in the UK, too. Just for fun along the way...

Yay 16 pounds!

Posted by
1562 posts

What time of year are go going? Soon? If so, depending on destination will not be hot and humid, and you can wear things more than 1 day (pants and sweatshirts). If hot and humid, always worth throwing in a couple extra short sleeve shirts since after a day of sightseeing, you may want to put something not sweated in all day for the evening.

And always better to have space to bring back some wine or other good finds. We traveled to Europe with roller carryons and mostly empty back packs, so we always had room to bring something home.

And completely agree with the "I will definitely use/wear "(then pack), vs. it might come in handy (leave it home) philosophy.

Wine opener and mini knife for cutting cheese, and a dozen zip lock bags are good "will use" extras that take up no space.

Posted by
290 posts

Take the scarves out! Buy them over there! I have two scarves that I bought over there and ALWAYS get complimented on them.

Put the suitcase down and walk away :)

Posted by
5926 posts

I bring my scuba gear if I know that I'll be going scuba diving on the trip - and I feel no guilt about it, because, well, I need it to breathe underwater.

I've never had any special cloths for ballroom dancing...I believe my t-shirt and zip-off pants (which I'm going to bring anyway and use every day) would function well enough to allow me to dance any way that I'm capable of doing.

Bring what you know you will need, not stuff that might maybe be handy to have along.

Posted by
6268 posts

Just keep it bare bones. I rarely take a pair of shoes other than what are on my feet unless I have beach time planned, then water shoes or sandals go in, otherwise I wear shoes that work in all instances.

Same with inclement weather, I think many go astray there. Sure, if you are going to Scotland in the fall, be prepared, but when you "what if" as others have said and pack a rain coat, a light jacket, a heavy jacket, a sweater, and a couple other options, you have lost it. I do pack a rain shell, and usually a fleece, that covers me in most instances, if it turns really cold, I might have another layer (heavy shirt) I could add, or buy another layer there (A good sweater from Scotland would be nice!). Same with an umbrella, I can tolerate a little rain, if it turns to days worth, I pick up an umbrella, but I would not pack one based on "In Case" Same goes with any specialized clothing (shorts, tank tops, etc.) no sense in packing unless you have a specific destination needing it.

Posted by
10626 posts

Oh gosh...just burst out laughing! Yes, step away from the suitcase.

Go back to your paper packing list.

Take 2 scarves and buy more.

Go ahead and wear the pearls you'd wear with your ball gown just in case. I think they are OK underwater with the scuba gear too, hahahha!!

Isn't it nice to have a safe space to retreat to where people understand your dilemma?

Posted by
1796 posts

Oh Gretchen, too funny. Yes to the 3rd pair of shoes if they’re sandals. No to the scarves, if you don’t wear them at home do you really think you’ll wear them all traveling?
Tomorrow is my packing day, leaving next week. I thought I had it all figured out, even made a diagram to remind me of my test pack, not that I’m forgetful. Then today I bought Cactus Candy (boxed) for the tour guide and driver. Now I have to reconfigure to fit it in my suitcase and leave something else out plus add airplane snacks. Instead of stressing about cutting back 1” and 2#s tonight, tomorrow’s another day...

Posted by
229 posts

Thank you all. I took a couple of deep breathes into a paper bag. Removed 4 of the scarves (I always wear a headband so I am only taking the ones that I can also use as headbands) Everything I took out I said “I can buy in this in France if I really need it. And then I’ll have a French one”

Now the weather looks like it’s going to be pretty warm so maybe only one sweater.

If I meet a handsome prince who wants to take me to a royal ball and go scuba diving the next day I’ll just have to rely on a fairy god mother and some friendly woodland creatures to sew something up for me and rent scuba gear.
And learn to dive.
And ballroom dance. In one of my two pairs of shoes.

15 lbs 8 oz and I’m putting the suitcase in the trunk so I can’t add anything.

Posted by
492 posts

This reminds me of one of the first times I traveled overseas with my spouse, and they brought a hairdryer. I noticed they'd packed it before we left, and I told them they wouldn't need it. They kept insisting on bringing it, though, despite my protests the hotel would surely have one. I tried to sneak it out of their suitcase, but they'd sneak it back in.

Finally, while I'm relaxing in our hotel room in Rome and they're in the restroom, I notice the lights and TV dim and flicker. A few seconds later, they emerge from the bathroom, rummage through some luggage, then head back to the bathroom. Lights dim and flicker again. They emerge again, rummage through the luggage some more, go back to the bathroom... lights dim and flicker again. Finally I figure I need to find out what's going on. I get up, walk over to the bathroom door, and knock. They open, and with their hairdryer in one hand and pointing to our travel adaptors with the other, exasperatingly complain, "None of these travel adaptors work!". You guessed it! They blew the fuse in every single one.

Moral of the story? If anyone needs the location of a good electrician's shop within short walking distance of the Piazza di Spagna where you can buy fuses, I know a guy!

Posted by
133 posts

Shoes, cardis, scarves: my worst temptations. I take 3 pairs shoes—feet demand it. I take 2 cardis: 1 lightweight black one, and a “practical” cardi for active days —don’t mind it being jammed in a day bag or used on a plane. I take 3 scarves: a pashmina for plane/warm layer, a lightweight “practical” one for days, and a silk one. I wear scarves a lot, so this keeps me happy. I’ve never regretted adding these things. What I did change was my “nice dinner” outfit/ plan: the Black cardi (layered with a tank or everyday T) and a scarf, rather than a separate top or dress. Or ballgown.

Posted by
3493 posts

Unless the core purpose of a trip is ballroom dancing or scuba diving, those items would stay home for me. Since I do neither, I don't even have the items to bring with me, making the point moot.

I have never regretted packing lighter, only regretted packing heavier.

Posted by
1560 posts

I rarely wear scarves at home, but I DO wear them while traveling, because I'm really good at spilling stuff on myself, and an artfully arranged scarf can save the outfit/day.

Posted by
1796 posts

Oh, I just finished packing. There is no room for horseback riding gear (far more important than scuba gear or ballgowns)
but this is not a riding trip. After eliminating a couple things, the gift candy fit in. But I added a couple things like a swimsuit for Matera's spa and ace bandage for my aching joints. I had to change out the small purse that I love for a more comfortable one with a wider strap but it takes up only a couple more inches in my tote and no more weight. I got the dimensions to fit, but cramming everything in makes the suitcase and tote a bit heavier than I'd like. 23# and 13# with my purse inside. But my feet will strongly object if I give up my 3rd pair of shoes. It's all the drugs and supplements that add weight. But that weight will decline as the trip progresses; that's a good thing. Only thing left dangling off my tote is the packable back pack but I figure it's no worse than the pillows people are hauling on their suitcases. If Delta says anything, I can stuff it into my leggings and say I'm pregnant. And I have to carry my jacket on board -- looks kind of silly in 100* weather.

Posted by
3493 posts

When you wrote "horseback riding gear" my mind immediately pictured a saddle and I thought how could anyone possible get that into a suitcase? then I remembered that there is special clothing some people wear when doing certain types of horse riding. Oh well.

Posted by
774 posts

We’re leaving for Scotland on Saturday. I’ve seen enough photos of wet, shivering tour members bundled up and obviously wishing they had another layer that I’m packing heavier than I did for, say, Italy in mid-May. Then because of weight restrictions on our connecting flight, we’ve elected to check our main bags when we depart O’Hare. Once you’ve decided to check, it opens the door to your “why not” scenario.

The other dilemma then becomes packing enough in the personal item to get through a day or two “in case” checked bags go astray. Made harder because that bag also will contain CPAP, camera, chargers, etc. Sigh.

Doing my final pack tomorrow. Must. Be. Strong. Must. Be. Strong ...

Posted by
2055 posts

I always follow the "rule": if you won't use something three times or more, you don't need to pack it.
(You might get invited to 3 Gala Balls...... three ballgowns! Eek!)

Posted by
7987 posts

@1885BD — oh I love the mental image you have painted of the scurrying back and forth, rummaging in the suitcase, hee hee hee!!

Posted by
5818 posts

Sports gear is a personal choice if active travel is important to you. That said, you have to make choices about personal gear that is important to your experience vs renting gear. Buying "travel" gear is a good compromise where "travel gear" is a compromise between compact and light at the cost of lesser performance or fewer features.


Now that airlines have drastically reduced passenger’s baggage
allowance, the weight and size of your diving equipment are important
factors to consider. Experienced divers know the value of diving with
their your own gear, you know it works and it’s more comfortable. If
you plan to go on diving trips often, an investment in quality travel
equipment is worth while.
See link for specific suggestions

Posted by
229 posts

Thanks Edgar.
I’m not really packing scuba gear.
Or ballgowns.

That was a hyperbole used to reference packing things that aren’t needed. I apologize humor is hard to convey online. I appreciate the information.

Posted by
5697 posts

@Gretchen -- hope you got off the ledge in time to make your plane 😁
I just packed for a two (2!) night trip to Seattle and still overpacked with "what-if" items -- extra shoes and pants in case it rained and my basic stuff got wet. But it was nice to get through an airport with just a rolling personal-item bag.
Just imagine what I pack for a Christmas markets trip!

Posted by
28782 posts

Gretchen, can you carry my scuba gear (we won't need yours) but I won't need a ball gown!

I'm glad that you were able to verbalise your stress and mood - I'm glad we've been able to help....

Now about that tux I need if you bring the (3) ball gowns....